The owner of a central Alberta café, which was the site of an anti-lockdown protest on Saturday, has been arrested.
A video posted on The Whistle Stop Cafe’s Facebook page shows RCMP officers putting owner Chris Scott in handcuffs before putting him in the back of a police vehicle.
Despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction, hundreds gathered outside the Mirror café Saturday, for the “Save Alberta Campout Protest.”
The rally against COVID-19 restrictions featured a number of guest speakers, including Scott.
“It doesn’t matter what the problem is, there’s a mechanism in place where one person can tell you, you no longer have your rights,” Scott said during the rally.
“You can’t go to church with your neighbours. You guys can’t go and hang at the park (with) 20 of you at a time. You can’t go to work and if you go to work you’ve got to put something over your face. When did this become OK? It’s not OK.”
Scott said the only way things will change is if Albertans question elected representatives.
“What gives you the right to pass legislation that is supposed to be on our behalf? What gives you the right to introduce something that can take away our rights with the stroke of a pen?” Scott said.
While a large crowd of people without masks stood together Saturday, cheering, clapping and eating, RCMP officers stood to the side as Scott took to the stage and rallied the crowd to join him in what he called “peaceful” civil disobedience.
Officers wearing body cameras said they were maintaining order and educating gatherers who weren’t wearing a mask on COVID-19 regulations.
On Thursday, Court of Queen’s Bench granted Alberta Health Services a pre-emptive injunction against the protest.
A spokesman for the RCMP said officers took the first three hours of the protest to educate demonstrators on COVID-19 regulations and notify them that they were contravening the injunction.
“There was a decision at one point to start mounting enforcement,” said Cpl. Troy Savinkoff. “That was around 4 p.m.”
Dozens were ticketed at the event.
The injunction essentially defined the event as an illegal public gathering that does not comply with chief medical officer of health (CMOH) order requirements on masking, attendance limits and physical distancing.
The order restrained the owner and others from organizing, promoting and attending the event.
The action also sought and received a court order against all other organizers of advertised illegal gatherings and rallies breaching COVID-19 public health orders.
Under the injunction, RCMP officers have been authorized to use reasonable force in arresting and removing any person at the rally who contravenes public health orders.
Last weekend, hundreds of people gathered near Bowden, for a pre-advertised maskless “No More Lockdowns’” protest rodeo.
–With files from The Canadian Press